Eight senior figures from Islamic State were killed in an air strike while meeting in a town in western Iraq, but the group’s reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not appear to be among them, residents of the town and hospital sources said.
Iraq said on Sunday its air force had hit the meeting and had also struck a convoy that was carrying Baghdadi to attend it. It said Baghdadi had been driven away from the convoy in an unknown condition. The Iraqi military’s announcement was the latest unconfirmed report of the possible death or injury of Baghdadi, who has survived a year of U.S.-led air strikes and multi-sided wars in two countries since proclaiming himself caliph of all Muslims after his forces swept through most of northern Iraq last year.
A Twitter site which publishes statements from Islamic State said “rumors” that an air strike had targeted Baghdadi were false.
The United States military declined to comment on the Iraqi military’s report.
Hospital sources and residents said airstrikes hit two houses and killed eight senior local leaders of an Islamic State police force in the town.